Most Common Side Effects for First-Time Marijuana Users | Rapid Referrals

Most Common Side Effects for First-Time Marijuana Users

As a medical marijuana doctor at Rapid Referrals, I understand the appeal of using cannabis as a safer alternative to traditional medications like opiates and benzodiazepines. However, it’s crucial for first-time users, especially among the older generation, to be aware of the potential side effects associated with initial use. In this blog, we will explore the most common side effects and provide tips to optimize your first cannabis experience.

These side effects fade within the first few times of use, but can recur after a cannabis holiday or when trying a new marijuana strain. My mantra to these rookie patients is to “go low, go slow, and stay low.”

Go Low, Go Slow, Stay Low

To minimize potential side effects, it’s important to follow the mantra of “go low, go slow, and stay low.” Here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  1. Go Low: When visiting a dispensary, request a “low-potency THC” product. Remember, the THC percentage doesn’t solely determine strength. It varies based on the product type, such as edibles, whole flowers, or wax.
  2. Go Slow: Start with small amounts of THC and wait several hours for the effects to kick in. Begin with no more than 5 mg of THC per dose during the initial days of treatment. If necessary, cut edibles in half or quarters for a lower first dose.
  3. Stay Low: For safety, take the first couple of doses while sitting down or in bed to avoid potential dizziness or passing out from pronounced initial side effects.


Understanding the physical side effects can help you prepare for and manage them effectively. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Dry Mouth: Experience dry mouth or “cottonmouth”? Keep water handy or try chewing citrus-flavored gum to alleviate this side effect.
  2. Red Eyes: Marijuana can cause blood vessels in the eyes to expand, leading to redness and dryness. Over-the-counter eye drops can provide relief.
  3. Dizziness: Temporary drops in blood pressure may cause dizziness or lightheadedness. Sit or lie down and avoid hazardous activities until the sensation subsides.
  4. Increased Heart Rate: Some individuals may experience an elevated heart rate after using marijuana. Consult a medical marijuana provider if you have a pre-existing heart condition.
  5. Impaired Coordination: Marijuana can affect motor skills and coordination. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence.


Effects on the Brain:

Marijuana can also affect cognitive function and perception. Here are the common effects on the brain:

  1. Short-term Memory Loss: First-time users may find it challenging to retain new information while using marijuana. This effect is temporary and typically subsides once the cannabis has left your system.
  2. Increased Appetite: Known as “the munchies,” marijuana often increases appetite. Be mindful of your food choices and opt for healthier snacks.
  3. Anxiety or Paranoia: Some individuals may experience heightened anxiety or paranoia. Start with low doses and strains higher in CBD to minimize these effects. Individuals with underlying schizophrenia should exercise caution.
  4. Altered Perception: Marijuana can change your perception of time, space, and sensory experiences. Ensure you’re in a comfortable and safe environment when trying cannabis.
  5. Drowsiness or Fatigue: Marijuana can cause sedation, benefiting those seeking relief from insomnia. If undesired, select products suitable for daytime use to avoid sedating effects.


Know What’s Right For You

As a medical marijuana doctor at Rapid Referrals, I have seen firsthand the benefits of cannabis for my patients, family, and friends. It’s important to understand that everyone’s first experience with marijuana is unique, and side effects may vary. To minimize potential adverse reactions, I recommend that all my rookie patients remember this one mantra: “Go low, go slow, and stay low.” Choosing a specific strain that aligns with your desired treatment goals will also help minimize any unwanted effects. And, most importantly, consult a medical marijuana provider if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions. Enjoy your first-time experience responsibly and safely!


Tips and Recommendations for First-Time Cannabis Patients

Walking into a medical marijuana dispensary for the first time can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of cannabis. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog series, we share some tips and recommendations to help you overcome your anxiety and gain confidence as a medical marijuana patient. Whether you’re looking for pain relief, stress reduction, or just a good time, we’ll provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions at the dispensary. After reading these articles,  we hope you’ll be even more confident about taking the first steps toward an enjoyable and beneficial cannabis experience.

Need Your Medical Marijuana Card?

Here at our clinic, we firmly believe that patient satisfaction is the most important factor in providing medical marijuana cards. That’s why we provide full technical support from start to finish and prioritize ensuring each customer is satisfied! Additionally, because your time is valuable, if you’re experiencing any urgency with obtaining your card or accessing dispensaries just give us a call today – we’ve got you covered!


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Medical cannabis or medical marijuana is for qualified patients only.

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